The kickoff event will be Feb. 8: “SkyBall,” a preview of the untouched space featuring music, food and cocktails, organized by co-chairwomen Sherry Crosthwait and Laurie Barbour. Tickets are $175; sponsor tickets, with added benefits, are $250. Private events may be arranged in the decorated space April 28 to May 2.
The building's owners are eager to see it showcased, said Paul Cornell, president of Citizens Bankshares and a member of the investment group that brought the former office tower back to prominence as a residential property.
“We're honored that our penthouse has been chosen as the 2014 Symphony Show House, and we're very excited to open our doors to the community for this event,” Cornell said.
The landmark has stood out since its construction in 1962-1963 as the first skyscraper in the city built away from downtown, then on the pre-interstate suburban outskirts — nearby Interstate 44 didn't extend to the area until 1975 — McQuillen noted on the National Register form.
McQuillen tied the building to the Populuxe expression of midcentury-modern architecture. Show House organizers categorized the style further as a subdivision called Googie, which they also described as “an outgrowth of the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s.” The architecture is regarded as a reflection of car culture.
“Googie” is not mentioned in the National Register documentation, however, and the term “would not be the one we would apply to the United Founders Tower,” said Melvena Heisch, deputy historic preservation officer with the Oklahoma Historical Society.
“Populuxe,” it is, Heisch said. “But professionals often disagree about architectural style terminology. The tower is a much larger, more formal construction used for business offices rather than the smaller, roadside attraction-type buildings that we think of as ‘Googie.'”
By whatever name, Founders Tower is sure to attract droves.
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The 18th-floor Penthouse at Founders Tower will afford a nearly 7,000-square-foot high-rise canvas for top designers for the 2014 Symphony Show House, organizers said Friday.